With a place in next year’s Champions League secured, the only important game left for Chelsea is the Europa League semifinal return leg against Eintracht Frankfurt. The Blues fortunately scored a crucial away goal in Germany, but as we’ve seen in the Champions League, anything can happen and we’ll have to be most careful.
THE PREDICTED LINEUP
Kepa Arrizabalaga’s phenomenal first half save underlined Sarri’s decision to start the record signing in almost every game this season, and it won’t be any different this time.
Gary Cahill said his goodbyes over the weekend as a late substitute, but it would be very surprising if anyone other than David Luiz and Andreas Christensen started, in between the full backs Emerson, rotating in for Alonso, and Iron-man Azpilicueta.
Maurizio Sarri confirmed that N’Golo Kanté will be out for a while, at least until the end of the month. On Sunday, Ruben Loftus-Cheek deputised off the bench, with Mateo Kovacic taking over the Kante role itself, and we probably will see a similar arrangement — though Ross Barkley could come in and spell either of the non-Jorginho positions.
Olivier Giroud is still Europa League’s top scorer and should ge tthe nod, right alongside Eden Hazard, who may be playing in his last home Chelsea match. It’s hard to tell who Sarri will pick from Pedro and Willian, though my money’s on the latter.
Arrizabalaga | Emerson, David Luiz, Christensen, Azpilicueta | Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Kovačić | Hazard, Giroud, Willian
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community was near unanimous in their agreement with the predicted lineup, with Pedro instead of Willian (47%) the only difference. Alonso (26%) and Higuaín (23%) collected a few votes as well, but nowhere near enough for the starting lineup
Arrizabalaga (98%) | Emerson (76%), David Luiz (98%), Christensen (95%), Azpilicueta (97%) | Loftus-Cheek (95%), Jorginho (95%), Kovačić (72%) | Hazard (98%), Giroud (77%), Pedro (60%)
MY PREFERRED LINEUP
I’m completely in line with the community’s choices as, given the injuries, we can’t do any better than this eleven. Ruben Loftus-Cheek has given this team a huge lift every time he’s played recently, and it’s imperative that he starts this one as well.
Arrizabalaga | Emerson, David Luiz, Christensen, Azpilicueta | Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Kovačić | Hazard, Giroud, Pedro
COME ON YOU BLUES!!!